Commentary: Three tips for maximizing your digital signage investment

Dec. 1, 2011

By Marcy Patzer, senior director of Retail Strategy, Scala Inc.

Digital signage is being adopted at an accelerated rate among quick-service restaurants. QSRs are finding digital signage eliminates the need to print and distribute static signs each time a menu changes to save on costly printing and distribution fees. Additionally, utilizing motion graphics to draw the eye and entice consumers to purchase specific menu items has been proven to increase the sale.

Increasingly, QSRs see introducing digital menu boards to their stores as helping them:

  • Increase profit per customer by highlighting menu items that spur impulse buys and larger sales;
  • Easily comply with nutritional information requirements that are growing across the country; and
  • Update menus as often as they want and coordinate offerings based on dayparts.

Here are three tips on how QSRs can maximize their digital signage investments:

Central Management

Digital signage software should relay all information for digital menu display boards through a single database delivered over the Web -- making multi-store menu and price adjustments a breeze. The software also needs to allow for constant and instant display board updates both in-store and at the drive-thru.

This approach offers the flexibility to modify digital menu boards displayed, customizing projections for certain hours as well as catering to local tastes -- maximizing targeted sales. To further localization efforts, the network should also be utilized to showcase products that are the biggest sales drivers for each store.


Self-service has become part of the consumer experience in many retail environments such as grocery stores and banks. And self-service kiosks – integrated with digital signage – are gaining a presence in QSR.

Many customers find the kiosk experience provides faster, easier and more accurate service. QSR operators see self-service technology as an opportunity to offset rising labor costs, or in tight labor markets, address the challenge of finding a pool of talented employees.

A key to kiosk success is presenting a visually compelling menu in an intuitive way that mixes in graphics and prompts to showcase items and suggest up-sell offers. The technology provides the opportunity for restaurants to harness the system's intelligence to better control messaging and influence customer behavior by delivering the right messages at the correct time in the path to purchase.

Social Media

Another emerging digital signage trend is the use of social media. Customers are on the Web talking about the brands they use and like, and restaurants need to explore every opportunity to engage with their connected consumers. They should do this not only to communicate to them but also to listen to what they are saying about their customer experience and wants.

For example, a digital sign could promote a restaurant's participation on Facebook and encourage customers to become a friend. This can lead to two-way communication as well as the opportunity to provide special offers and coupons. Allowing your customers to check-in via an application like Foursquare will drive traffic and repeat visits as the "Mayor" could receive a perk (as well as the pride of having their name and face displayed for local friends and family to see).

Twitter also has a place in QSR and can be part of your digital signage strategy, allowing consumers to tweet about their favorite custom-designed hamburger, or a new menu item they loved. Utilizing social media also creates that local feel. Engaging consumers can also increase their dwell time, increasing the likelihood that they will come back up for another item.

Utilizing digital media within QSR has proven effectiveness. The goal is to examine your location, the demographic of your customer and your product offerings to then decide the most effective use for you.

Scala Inc. is a leading global digital signage company providing software and advertising management solutions. It provides a platform for content creation, management and distribution in digital signage networks, and a unified platform for advertising management of both traditional and digital signage networks. Scala's solutions exist at QSRs such as Burger King and McDonald's.

 Read more about digital signage initiatives.

Topics: Business Strategy and Profitability , Digital Signage , Display Technology , Menu Boards , Systems / Technology

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